Tag:Alabama
Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:27 pm
 

SEC Title Hunt Preview -- Week 9

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth.  In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make an insanely premature prediction.  Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below. For the ACC edition, click here .

West Division

Auburn (8-0) (5-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (6-2) (2-2)
Arkansas (5-2) (2-2)
Ole Miss (3-4) (1-3)

Week 9 Preview
With Auburn sitting a game up on their bitter Alabama rivals but a full two or more on the rest of the field -- thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers over LSU , Arkansas , and Mississippi State -- it looks like there's not much stopping an Iron Bowl meeting (Nov. 26, only on CBS!) for all the Western marbles. But we're not there yet. There are plenty of reasons a team calling itself the No. 1 team in the country has lost on the road each of the last three weeks, and an awful lot of those reasons are in play again this week as emotionally-drained Auburn travels to Ole Miss . Houston Nutt has enjoyed a ton of success against favored Auburn teams over the years, and with Jeremiah Masoli now in what appears to be firm command of Nutt's offense, the Rebels have the ability to take advantage of the Tigers' often-porous defense.

But the Rebels are also struggling to stop the run in SEC play, giving up 162 yards per game, and that's after playing Vanderbilt and before playing Auburn (who has rushed for more than 300 yards in their last four SEC outings). If the Tigers come out focused enough to execute in their punishing ground game, they should wear down a Rebel defense that has sagged in several second halves.

If Auburn does come away with the win, Arkansas and Mississippi State will be all but eliminated even with wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky , respectively; they would need to run the table, see Auburn to lose to both Georgia and Alabama , and get enough other help to squeeze into a three-way tie that would avoid the head-to-head dilemma. Much more likely is that when the smoke clears, next week's critical game between LSU and Alabama (both of whom are on byes this week) will either help set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa ... or, if LSU wins, bring Auburn within one win of clinching the West.

Week 9 West Winners -- Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State
West Favorite -- Auburn

East Division

South Carolina (5-2) (3-2)
Georgia (4-3) (3-3)
Florida (4-3) (2-3)
Vanderbilt (2-5) (1-4)
Kentucky (4-4) (1-4)
Tennessee (2-5) (0-4)

Week 9 Preview
The most muddled division in all of college football should gain some clarity this week when Georgia and Florida play a de facto elimination game in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (3:30 ET this Saturday--only on CBS!). Assuming South Carolina holds serve at home against reeling, winless Tennessee , the loser will find themselves at least two games behind the Gamecocks with only two games remaining on Carolina's slate. Though either team could still hope for a three-team (or even four-team) tie at 4-4, there doesn't appear to be a way for this Saturday's loser to win that tiebreak.*

The Gators do have the advantage of controlling their own destiny, while Georgia will need help even with a win. But it's Mark Richt 's team that comes in as the Vegas favorite after destroying the Volunteers, Commodores, and Wildcats over the previous three weeks. The Dawg offense looks rejuvenated with A.J. Green back in uniform, changes along the offensive line leading to better holes for Washaun Ealey and the rest of the Dawg ground game, and Aaron Murray coming into his own as the trigger-man in charge. The Gators remain mired at 89th in the country in total offense, and unless Urban Meyer has worked some miracles during his team's bye week or the Gator return game reprises its magic from the LSU loss, it's difficult to see how Florida scores often enough to keep pace.

If Georgia does win, there's still a long road to the division title, though; they'd have to either defeat Auburn on the road in Week 11 or hope Carolina loses to Florida in Gainesville and Arkansas at home. But neither scenario is that far-fetched, meaning the East would stay muddled for at least a few more weeks.

One thing we can say: with Kentucky and Vanderbilt both major road underdogs this week (at Miss. St. and Arkansas, respectively), their brief run as legitimate players for the divisional title appears to be over.

*Since South Carolina would be the first team eliminated from that tiebreak, thanks to their divisional loss to Kentucky. After that, it's Florida vs. Georgia head-to-head.
Week 9 East Winners -- South Carolina, Georgia
East Favorite -- South Carolina


Insanely Premature ACC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 35, South Carolina 31


Posted on: October 27, 2010 2:39 pm
 

Ingram would vote for Cam Newton..or would he?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is far and away the leader in the Heisman race so far this season.  He has singlehandedly put the entire Auburn offense on his back this season and carried it to an 8-0 start and the top spot in the BCS polls.  Honestly, if you have a Heisman vote right now and you don't plan on giving it to Newton, you aren't doing it because you don't think he deserves it, you're only voting for somebody else to be different.

But what if you're the latest Heisman winner, and you happen to play for Auburn's biggest rival?  Is that reason enough not to vote for Newton to win the Heisman?  Possibly, but Mark Ingram went on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday and said he'd throw a vote Newton's way if he feels he deserves it.

"We'll see what happens," Ingram said. "We'll see how the rest of the season plays out and who keeps playing the best football. They're definitely playing the best football out of everybody right now.

"If he's the best and has been the best so far, I wouldn't have no problem. I'm a real person and I can't hate on the man."

That's right, Ingram "wouldn't have no problem" voting for Newton.  Could it be that Ingram is intentionally using the double-negative to throw off the scent, and that he has no intention of voting for Newton?  Now, as we've seen in the past, the proper usage of grammar and syntax can be a problem for members of the Alabama football team .  It's very possible that Nick Saban 's misuse of the english language has transferred to the rest of the team like some unstoppable virus, hell bent on creating run-on sentences and leaving participles dangling.

But, no, I believe Ingram is too smart for that.  He's obviously just trying to fool us all into thinking he supports Newton's campaign.  Well he hasn't fooled this blogger!

I'm on to you, Ingram.

Hat tip: CFT
Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:22 pm
 

Matt Simms doesn't enjoy sharing snaps

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In an effort to shake things up with his offense, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley decided to give freshman Tyler Bray some snaps during practice last week and during Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night.  Obviously, considering the Vols only managed to score 10 points and gain 315 yards of offense in their 31-10 loss, not much changed with the two-quarterback system.

In fact, Bray struggled quite a bit, completing only 5-of-14 passes for 39 yards and an interception.  The man he took snaps away from, Matt Simms, didn't fare that much better, completing only 12-of-22 passes for 117 yards and throwing an interception of his own.  Still, Simms' performance was better than Bray's, and the junior quarterback thinks things would have gone a bit better had he been left in the game.

"I knew the plan going into the game was to get [Bray] a few drives or whatever," Simms said. "By the way things were going in the game at that moment, I really didn't think that I was going to get taken out -- later on in the game maybe. They stayed true to their plan, and I respect that, and I thank them for being honest with me, but at the same time those drives right there, I feel like I need to be out there, because I feel like I'm missing out on plays that could have been made or penalties that could have been avoided."

Simms did go on to say that he appreciated the coaches honesty in the whole situation, but that when it comes to sharing time with Bray that the coaches "know how I feel about that." 

It's easy to understand where Simms is coming from, because no quarterback who has spent the entire year as the team's starter is going to enjoy suddenly sharing snaps.  Especially when the team is losing.  Still, it's because Tennessee is losing that Simms needs to get over it.

While he hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line at all this season, Simms hasn't been very good.  He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (7) on the year.  Obviously, Matt Simms: Full-Time Quarterback hasn't been a winning formula for the Vols.  So mixing in Tyler Bray, whom the coaching staff hopes can be the quarterback of the future, can only help in the long run.

So while Simms may not like sharing snaps, he should probably get used to it.  Then, when he is on the field, play so well that the coaches can't take him off the field.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear

Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain

Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain

No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear

No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms

Evening kickoffs

No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms

Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms

Late night kickoffs

Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy


Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Fornelli's Insane Predictions: Week 8

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that  South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

The Tennessee Volunteers shock the world when they pull off an upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Knoxville on Saturday night.  In his first start, Tyler Bray has far from an outstanding day, throwing for only 78 yards and a touchdown, but the Alabama offense can't stop tripping over its own feet.  Greg McElroy fumbles three times, and throws four interceptions.  To make matters worse, McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones all have to leave the game with devastating knee injuries.  After the game a shocked Nick Saban points out that "they just don't make ligaments like they used to."

Severly Unlikely

It's halftime in Miami, and the North Carolina Tar Heels look to be en route to a huge win against the Hurricanes.  They have a 24-0 lead thanks to four first half interceptions by Jacory Harris, and spirits in the locker room are high.  Then a phone rings.  Butch Davis answers it to be told that the NCAA has just suspended everybody on his team, and that he'll have to forfeit the game.  Instead Davis recruits the North Carolina band to fill in for his team, and amazingly, they hold on to win the game 27-23.  Three weeks later the loss is vacated when it's discovered that the tuba player accepted money from the New York Philharmonic.

Completely Ludicrous

Following Iowa 's narrow 27-24 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, the two teams meet on the field to shake hands.  Bret Bielema goes out of his way to find Ricky Stanzi and congratulate him on his three-touchdown game.  Upon finding Stanzi, the quarterback tells Bielema, "Thanks.  That's how real Americans play the game."  This infuriates Bielema, who views his brand of pounding large young men into the trenches until they drop dead to be the real American football.  The two begin fighting, and have to be separated.  Though after the dustup, still feeling patriotic, Stanzi pulls the American flag out from under his jersey -- next to his heart, of course -- and puts it on a sharpened flag pole he keeps in his sock.  He then hurls the flag forty yards through the air like a javelin where it goes through Bielema's chest and plants into the ground.  Stanzi is carried off the field to chants of "USA!  USA!  USA!"
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 7:29 pm
 

Cam Newton raising Alabama football art stakes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The production and sale of college football-related art is a multi-billion dollar business* in the state of Alabama, and no one profits from it more than Daniel A. Moore , the Birmingham-based artist whose oil paintings of famous moments in Alabama football history have made him a household name statewide. An example from last year's narrow escape against Tennessee :



Each and every Moore production is wildly anticipated (and eventually purchased by the thousands) by Crimson Tide fans in much the same way indie rock geeks salivate over their favorite band's next release.

Auburn fans, however, haven't had any equivalent single artist to turn to for their artistic needs. But maybe that's just a case of not having the right artist with the right motivation. Not surprisingly, budding Heisman candidate/Auburn folk hero Cam Newton may just be that motivation, as painter Carolyn Foret describes on her website:

Inspiration hit me fast last weekend! Pardon me right now, Alabama fans or those not interested in football! But CAM NEWTON came to life on my easel after watching him superman himself into the end zone a couple of times for my team, AUBURN UNIVERSITY.
What does that life look like? Like this:



A gauntlet may have just been thrown down in Mr. Moore's direction. Maybe more to the point: if you needed any better evidence of the hold Newton and his seismic impact already have on the imaginations of Auburn fans, you've got it.

*Possibly a slight exaggeration.

HT: @warblogle .


Posted on: October 21, 2010 1:34 am
 

Kent State ditches 2011 game with Purdue

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For all the week-to-week, year-to-year volatility that typifies modern college football, one of the odd bastions of stability that has recently popped up in the sport is scheduling. For example, Miami and Michigan State agreed to a home-and-home series today. Those games won't take place until 2020 and 2021, or 10 and 11 years from now. Odds are that neither team will even have the same coach by then; the Hurricanes are on their third coach in the last 11 years, and the Spartans have seen five different head coaches at the helm of their program in that same timeframe. So these teams probably have no idea what their programs will resemble in 2020, but one thing's for sure: Michigan State and Miami, locking horns.  

Meanwhile, Purdue sits on the opposite side of the spectrum today, and not by choice; in an effective reminder that these agreements do have an expensive out clause, Kent State has just bought out their side of a contract to play the Boilermakers in 2011, according to a Purdue news release.

"This is a new one, having someone opt out of a contract just over 10 months before a game," said Purdue AD Morgan Burke. "I am personally surprised because of the positive relationship Purdue and Kent State have had through the years. We will get on the phone immediately to begin the process of finding a new opponent."

Kent State quickly jumped at the chance to play Alabama, in part because Tide head coach Nick Saban is an alumnus of the Kent State football team; Saban was a quarterback-turned-defensive back with the Golden Flashes during the mid-'70s.

But it also seems probable that Alabama will pay Kent State much more than $425,000 for its trouble; that's the guarantee Purdue set for the Golden Flashes, who are paying that amount to Purdue in full. And if the market rate for guaranteed payments per game continues rising at an exorbitant rate, it may become no longer in a program's best financial interests to lock in a game -- and a rate -- 10 years in advance. Of course, it's probably not as if Purdue booked its MACrifice back in 2000 or anything, but the fact remains: make it financially advantageous to break a contract, and someone's going to do it.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 1:28 pm
 

Saban questions toughness of today's players

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I turned 30 recently, and it's somewhat of an odd age.  On one hand, I realize that I'm not a kid anymore, but at the same time, I sure as hell don't feel like a full-fledged adult yet.  Still, the signs are starting to creep in, and they're scary.  Just the other day the words "kids these days" came out of my mouth, and they came out in a direct, non-sarcastic tone.

I don't want to turn into that person that compares the world of today with the world of my youth, or how things were when I was younger.  I'm afraid that when it happens I'll officially be old.

This is not a fear that Nick Saban has.  He's in full-blown "back in my day" mode at the moment, particularly when it comes to questioning the toughness of today's football player.  Following his team's win against Ole Miss on Saturday, the Alabama taskmaster went on a bit of a rant about it.

"That's what I tell the players all the time, and they hate to hear it, but now I'm going to say it publicly so they can really get upset about it," said Saban.

"You're telling the other guy you're beating me up, I'm hurt and I'm going to stay down here.  It's just like a boxer. If you go down, get up. If you've got to come out for a play, come out for a play. But that's just me. I'm old-fashioned. I know they don't make 'em like they used to. ...

"But a guy lays on the ground and eight trainers go out there and everybody thinks he's hurt and he gets up and runs off the field. When I played, my coach, you wouldn't want to meet him on the sideline. So if you stayed down, you'd better really be hurt."

While Saban brings up some good points -- I'm tired of guys rolling around on the ground like they've been shot because they have a cramp -- he also misses one giant one completely.  He also has horrible timing considering Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand being paralyzed over the weekend.

Still, the one point Saban truly misses on is one he kind of makes.  It's true, they don't make players like they used to anymore.  The players of today are bigger, stronger and faster than the ones of the past.  Which means that collisions are more violent, and will lead to more injuries.  Bones are still bones, after all, and those things can break.

Saban could just ask his own wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished the South Carolina game with a broken hand.  Is that tough enough for Saban?

Some other things Saban thinks they just don't make like they used to?  First, hair gel.  "They're all scented now and make me smell girly."  Then there are scholarship limits.  "Why the hell can't I sign every player in the country!?  If they want to come here, why can't I have them?"*

*Those last two quotes may not actually be true.
 
 
 
 
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